Operating scheme of the solar reactor for the two-step thermochemical cycle for producing solar fuels. The reactor configuration consists of a cavity-receiver, the porous, monolithic cylinder contains a cerium oxide. Concentrated solar radiation passes through a transparent quartz glass with a sealed aperture and strikes the cerium oxide on the inner wall of reactor. Reaction gases flow radially through the porous cerium oxide, while product gases exit through an axial outlet cavity. Red arrows indicate the reduction of cerium oxide (oxygen delivery), blue arrows indicate the oxidation (production of the fuel).

The insert shows a scanning electron micrograph of the porous cerium oxide after 23 cycles.

Image Credit: ETH Zurich.

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